Children And Scripture
By Andrew Murray
“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice…” (2 Tim. 1:5).
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14-15).
It is one of the highest honors God has for the believing parent, that He has made him/her the minister of His holy Word to his/her children. It is the unfeigned faith of father or mother, a faith which lives on and according to the Word, and speaks of it in the power of personal testimony and experience, that will be used of God to waken a child’s faith. In real living faith there is something contagious; the life of the Spirit breathes in it, and makes its words a blessing. With this in mind, seek to teach your child the following:
To Believe the Word . . .
Teach your child to believe the Word of God. Of old, God sought above everything to train His saints to be men of faith. There is nothing more pleasing to Him than faith. Faith is the soul’s surrender to God, to hear what He says, to take what He gives, to receive what He works, to be entirely at His disposal. Faith in God begins with faith in His Word, and there is no habit a parent can cultivate in a child of deeper importance than that of a trustful acceptance of all that God has said.
Teach your child to believe in His love, in the gift of His Son, and in the life through Him, as realities which come true to us as our faith simply trusts the Word and is assured of what it says. Teach your child day by day to look upon every promise, every truth in the Word, as the food of faith, meant to make our faith, and through it our life, stronger. Parents, a child is naturally trustful; guide his young trust to that Word which never fails. The child wants to trust; the Word wants to be trusted; let your unfeigned faith bring them into contact.
To Know the Word . . .
Teach your child to know the Word of God. Faith depends upon knowledge. Timothy had known the sacred writings as able to make him wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:14-15). If the grace of God is to save us, it must teach us; it is a wisdom from above; we must love God with the mind as well as the heart. Let the parent seek to give the child a clear and intelligent apprehension of the great truths of salvation God has revealed. He may not entrust this work to school or church; it is astonishing how vague the knowledge thus obtained often is. Let family worship be so ordered as to be really helpful in the knowledge of God’s Word.
Take time to lodge in the mind not only the truths and the history of the Bible, but specially to store the memory with some of God’s own words. Be not content with the child’s learning and saying his text at fixed times; it is often forgotten as soon as said. But seek to have some of these words, by frequent repetition, so rooted in the mind that nothing can efface them. Teach the child to know the Book itself too; to be at home in it, to feel at home and more at ease in it; to be taught by unfeigned faith thus to know the sacred writings is an inestimable blessing.
To Love the Word . . .
Teach your child to love God’s Word. This is more difficult than to teach your child to believe and to know it. There is often the assent of faith, and an interest in the knowledge of Scripture, with very little of real love to it. To teach this is no easy task. Its first requisite is, of course, that we love it ourselves. A parent’s holy, tender love to the Word of God will be the surest means of inspiring the child’s love.
To Obey the Word . . .
And then, teach your child to obey the Word of God. God connects all believing, knowing, loving, with doing; obedience is God’s test of uprightness and reality. Teach the child to make what the Father has said the standard of conduct. Let him see and hear that you do so. In our ordinary Christianity, children are educated into the belief that God’s commandments are grievous; the idea of obedience to Him, whole-hearted and unceasing obedience, being simply happiness, is never thought of. And yet this is the only religion that really will be mighty to plant itself in the hearts of our children. The Bible must not be as a law continually holding us in check, keeping us from what we would like, and demanding what is difficult. No! with our children we must take up an entirely different position.
As the Father’s redeemed ones, the children of His covenant and kingdom, we must say, with the only-begotten Son, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart” (Psa. 40:8). It is His covenant promise to work this in us and our children. If in Christ Jesus we enter into the blessed life of the liberty of God’s children, our children will learn from us how impossible it is to us to read the Father’s Word and not do it. Our study of it with them will all have this as its one purpose: we want to know and do the will of God.
Careful, Meaningful Reading
If the same care we take to have a properly prepared meal placed on the breakfast table, and each child served with just what he needs, were only taken to see that the children really receive and enjoy the feeding with the Divine Word. Let parents make a study of it to have their family worship so ordered, as indeed to lead the children into the holy place, to be presented before the Lord, to be fed with the bread each one requires, and to receive the Father’s blessing for the day. Let them prepare for reading the Word with the family. Let the reading be as of God’s Word, in His presence, and waiting on His Spirit. Beware of the hurry which just gives time enough for the hasty reading of a chapter. A few moments devoted to a quiet, loving, calling of the attention to what God says, and to making the personal application, encouraging the children to take and keep the Word, may be the beginning of great blessing.
Seek the Spirit’s Working
Parents! God’s Word is your child’s heritage from the Father in heaven. And you are commissioned to lead him into the knowledge and the love and the possession of its treasures. Make it a matter of earnest prayer that you may wisely and rightly do it. Let that Word dwell richly in you in all wisdom. In giving His promises, Jesus said, “If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you...” (John 15:7).
Let your life be one of unfeigned faith, that lives and delights in doing God’s Word, such faith will pass on into your children. The quiet confidence that comes from God’s Word is a power that makes itself felt with our children. And if you often feel that you know not how to bring the Word aright to them, or see in them things that hinder its reception, be still of good cheer, you have God to do the work, to make the Word effectual. Pray and believe for the Holy Spirit’s working; He will make the Word, which you speak and live in unfeigned faith, the seed of faith to your children too.
Gracious God! we ask Thee to give us a very deep sense of the blessedness of this part of our work as parents, to bring Thy holy Word to them. May the privilege Timothy had be that of our children: from earliest youth to have the unfeigned faith of a loving parent as the interpreter of holy Scripture.
May a deep, full, and very joyous faith in Thy blessed Word be the power in which all our Scripture teaching comes to them. Give us to see clearly how their hearts are claimed by Thee, to be filled with Thy words, that these may be in them the seeds of all holy thoughts and dispositions.
We ask of Thee the grace of wisdom, and faith, and patient faithfulness to bring Thy Word day by day to our children. We yield ourselves to the supremacy and the power of Thy holy Word; let it so abide in us, that our life may be the shining forth of its holy light. Let us be so full of faith and love and obedience to the Word, that our dear children learn from their youth to love and believe and obey it too.
Father, forgive us that this has been too little so. Wilt Thou not by Thy mighty power make it so now? Amen.
– Adapted from Children For Christ by Andrew Murray.